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>> schieffer: welcome back to face the nation. back now at cbs news headquarters in new york, our political panel, david corn, who is the author of showdown, now out in paper zero back, david is also a reporter that uncovered the mitt romney fund raiser video from mother jones we want to ask him about that. peggy noonan, a columnist for the wall street journal, a speechwriter before that for president reagan, david gergen and i don't know anybody else who has this on his resume, he worked for both president reagan and for bill clinton, he is now at harvard university, rick stengel who worked with president clinton on the time magazine cover story that bill clinton authored this week, and let's also bring in round out the team with john dickerson, our own political director. let me just start by asking somebody on the panel, would anybody like to volunteer, did
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bill clinton say that he wants to temporarily extend the bush tax cuts or did he say not? a show of hands here. who would like to answer that question. >> do we know? >> it was a wonderful, long, complicated answer. the end of which left you thinking, what the heck did he just say? >> yes. nobody knew what the heck he was doing and everybody sort of went on with life. >> and with strategic, not deliberate. >> schieffer: create i think a fog so everybody can find an exit and then when the fog lift everybody is in a safe place. i think he is trying to say basically the commitments of the sequester and of the tax cuts, we can put those off if we can get a deal but that's the kind of thing that led to the sequester in the first place so i am not sure -- >> you want to give president obama a lot of cover, the economy needs to start recovering before before we make
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any sacrifices before we ask people to make any sacrifice and i think there the president will be able to if he is reelected to kind of have a simpson-bowles moment and that is what clinton is trying to set him up to do. >> i also thought he gave cover in another way which is to say, there is a lot to be dealt with here, first in the short-term and the long-term, and we don't expect the president to come out and say right now what his negotiating position, what his end point is going to be of the negotiations so everyone should get together and start working on this. so when president obama said he was thinking about naming bill clinton as secretary for explaining stuff, he also meant not quite explaining it when the need arose. >> yes. >> schieffer: peggy, let me just start with you. this week, i mean, you write this column for the wall street journal, many conservatives look to you for advice. i mean you are a leading voice on the right. you called the romney campaign this week a rolling calamity. did you get any blowback from
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your republican friends on that? >> of course not. (laughter.) >> yes. i will tell you, bob, it was very interesting. there was a lot of formal official and public blowback from the romney campaign, from romney surrogates, et cetera. what was interesting to me, however, was that privately, the constant communication i got was, thank you for saying that they need help, at the romney campaign they need to be woken up and they need to raise their game. the general feeling of just about all republicans and conservatives who are watching this thing now is that this race is close. you can win it if you are mitt romney, if you go forward with meaning and you stop being small and merely tactical and cautious. you get yourself together, you put fund raisers aside and you go into the public, you make speeches and some commercials which show america what you
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stand for, what you are going to do, how you get from a to b and why the american people should follow you. so there is very broad feeling that the romney campaign needed to be woken up and i am here to help. >> schieffer: well, was it the wrong strategy? what is it, what is their core problem right now? >> oh, their core problem was carefulness, inability to focus on their own essential meaning, and communicate it to the american people a and i would also say people in america now, we talk about politics are throwing around numbers. there is the unfortunate 47 percent for mitt. there is the question only need 51 percent to win. the way republicans win is by thinking of 100 percent of the american people, going to them all, laying out your plan saying you may disagree with me, but
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this is where i stand, please listen to me, give me a hearing, the american people always will. so in a way maybe their essential problem was they were slicing and dicing in america. go bigger. >> schieffer: well, let's go over to david corn, who really was the reporter of the week. i mean, you came up with this video. it was just astounding. how long have you had that video? >> well, i mean, there are a lot of conspiracy theories i only had it for a week or less while we took -- while i took a lot of time to authenticate it, make sure the video clips are accurate and work out an agreement with the source of the tape about how to present it. so we really got it out as quick as we could do it journalistically responsibly, so even though it happened in, i didn't learn of the tape until late august and then we moved very fast. i got to take issue with my friend peggy i think she is being a little generous here, which is not a bad fault to
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have. the problem with the campaign, and i think this is what the tape plays into is the candidate. all of the stuff, it is not a slicing and dicing of the american public here and, there it is not just a strategic assumptions that the campaign is making or how they are presenting the message, i think you have seen mitt romney in the last seven years he has been campaigning being all sorts of different things and not having either the obama campaign denigrates him for not having a core i would say not having a core message or a core mantra, and in his pursuit of the presidency and when i did the book showdown what impressed me was the strategy of the obama campaign comes from one place, really, the president. he puts together his vision, his policy, agenda, his own ideas about might be and about governing america into a political strategy, whether you like it or not, whether it is going to work or not but it comes from him and it is really i think sincerely at his core, and so it seems a much more integrated campaign than we have
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with the romney campaign. i mean you shouldn't have to call for james baker to rush in and save the day if the candidate had something really solid to offer the public at this time in our history. >> schieffer: well, david gergen, you have been in the reagan white house and in the clinton white house. do you think this thing is a gave changer? >> the 47 percent? >> schieffer: yes. >> no. i don't think the game is over yet, i think what mitt romney needs is a game changer in the first debate. the problem he now has got got in the engagement is it is starting to slip away from him in the key states. peggy is absolutely right, it is very close in the national polls and slipping away from him in the battle ground states and that puts pressure on him going into these debates. were he actually tied in the swing states all he needs to do is have a draw in the debates, he now needs to win and win that first debate and have turned that first debate into a game changer in which he does respond to the david corns of the world and show his true soul and what his message is. there have been a lot of mistakes in the campaign, starting with the idea he should have called peggy noonan for his
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acceptance address and would be in better shape now. >> i am a columnist -- >> at least he should have called because it would have shown good instincts. i agree with david, i think calling on jim baker now is not a striewtion to this. solution at this. jim baker was best at running campaigns when he had president reagan as a candidate and he was very successful. it is up to the candidate at some point. the 47 percent didn't come from the campaign, it came from the candidate. >> that is true. >> i think he can still win this thing and romney can still win this thing but he has to do it in the debate and have a game changer. >> schieffer: stengel you are the managing editor of time and you worked with bill clinton on this cover story that was written to coins side with the clinton global initiative. i have to ask you and i think dave gergen is right, you just have the sense, especially in these battleground states that
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obama is just pulling away. i don't know of a battle ground state right now where obama is behind. if memory serves. bill, does bill clinton get some of the credit for this? >> i think so he is the number one surrogate as we saw and he is the explainer in chief. the president has not done a great job of explaining his own message. i mean, he has to turn to bill clinton to do it for him. and in fact what we are going to see is a lot more ads with bill clinton in them, and clinton will have to decide, am i really going to jump in here and really try to kill that guy or am i going to try to maintain this notion that i am this great philanthropist in chief which in fact he is. i have to say that the central problem of the campaign, the romney folks i thought, look this be is going to be a referendum on the economy, the obama folks thought, hey, this is a choice election and i am the experienced guy. what it has turned into is a referendum on romney, and that is a problem for him, because that is the central problem because he is not really
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connecting. >> i talked to a number of republicans this week, one strategy gist who has been involved in a lot of these campaigns said when he saw that video, it was the first time he thought he was seeing the real romney. that is a problem when zero your most troubled moment is the one people think is the most authentic moment, and so that is the problem if it is true and a lot of republicans believe this that romney has this authenticity problem matt is the barrier to keep him from saying i do care about you and have policies that will affect you in your real life. people don't buy the pitch because they don't buy the guy. where he has a possible exit strategy or something that he can hang on to is the pew poll, look at the swing voters still left .. they say one in five, some say it is less than that. on the question of jobs people, those swing voters prefer romney 24 to 27 over obama. there are 20 million more people on food stamps under obama.
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one in six living in poverty, 23 million either unemployed or underemployed, the economy is still there ready for romney to find his way back to it somehow, he just has to do it,. >> schieffer: does any of this go back to the fact that what if in the beginning, peggy, what if mitt romney said look i am a moderate, you know, i know we have conservatives in this party and i know we have the tea party but the fact is i am a moderate. i was a moderate governor, haley barbour is not going to get elected governor of massachusetts anymore than i would be elected governor of mississippi. it seems somehow mitt romney has been pushed beyond a point where i wonder if he really is sometimes, and certainly if you go back and look at his record -- >> i don't know. oddly enough, i think people do sort of look at him and experience him as a kind of moderate conservative, even though he never says that i think he does come across that way. but i think he has, as i think
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richard said, romney so far has failed. the american people look at romney and obama and i think a number of them would be willing to say, mr. obama, we gave you four years, i think i am not going to reup your contract, except they look at romney and he hasn't fully made the sale to them yet. i also think, interestingly this year, so many people think they know who they are voting for but when you get down to it they tell pollsters by the way i could change my mind. so this is still all in play, which actually is an opening for mitt romney, but if he doesn't take it now, as david notes, it ain't going to get taken. >> the thing is, he has been running for president for seven years now. >> yes. >> i think you are right. the mitt romney of 2003, 2004 would have been the ideal republican candidate in the general election. that guy would have lost, probably, republican primary,
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and that was a chance -- a risk that mitt romney wasn't willing to take. so, yeah, he moved so far to the right he has had all of these flip-flops and has an authenticity issue coming into the very start of this thing and then through the campaign, he seems to go back and forth. he ran as an outsider now obama said something this week so now romney runs as the insider. he has been reactive to almost everything the president has done, and it has been noticed when you don't have a rudder the winds push you back and forth, much easier and i think people are looking at romney the way they looked at john mccain four years ago when the financial collapse happened and they don't see a steady hand. they see the guy who knows what he wants to do as president and i don't know if that can really be changed that much at this point. he is lucky it is still close, which may be david -- >> i will tell you why because he has an authenticity program they should run an hour ad and run the whole video that is mitt romney the whole guy he is
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fluent and articulate and shows what he believes he is not optimistic about a lot of things and connects better in that video talking to those fund raisers than on the stumps. >> to the millionaires. >> schieffer: i have to break here, and take a look commercial break. back in one minute. don't go away. areas are reportg their best tourism seasons in years. we've shared what we've learned with governments and across the industry so we can all produce energy more safely. i want you to know, there's another commitment bp takes just as seriously: our commitment to america. bp supports nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs
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inserting himself and disappeared on the issue. we since learned this administration first thought this uprising in libya was just something that bubbled up from the ground, now they are calling ate terrorist attack. what went wrong there, we needed to get wrong in the first place why weren't you securing the embassy the way you should have been? these are points a republican could make that mitt romney need to make because he knows the press isn't necessarily going to make that case for him. hhe can't make it because he jumped in and said hey this is a very serious issue. but instead he hasn't really come back to it. what an old hand might do is say look you have to prosecute this case against the president in this way, not just let it be. >> i think that was perfectly said and unfortunately for me it was what i wanted to say and i would also add that an old hand on the plane would have said to him, to mr. romney as soon as libya blew, mr. romney went out there and he tried to make some political hay of it an old hand would have said, buddy, when americans come under attack, the
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first thing you do is say, we are praying for them, we are asking for unity we will have no criticism right now for the president, but this will unfold. we will be thinking about it and we will be talking to you very seriously about it very soon. >> i don't think romney has that instinct. >> which is why old hands need to be there. >> schieffer: let david make a point. >> i am an old hand. i am very persuaded he should have an old hand there. i think having ji. >> jim: bake they are would help, i think a number of mistakes, my uniform experience has been that what really matters is the person who is running, because what you learn in a campaign is what that president will be like, what that person would be like as president and you know when they get to the oval office so much depends upon the quality and the character, you wrote a book about reagan and character of the person and the instincts and the way they carried themselves
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and some of the things romney is having trouble with are the very requirements we look to for a successful president, the capacity to persuade people, to rally behind your positions. presidency is not about having some engineer who comes up with the best set of solutions, we saw that with jimmy carter, it is how you mobilize people behind you to rally to do the hard things that need to be done. >> schieffer: that brings up a point. this week you saw president obama say, look, what i have learned is you can't run washington from the inside, that you have to run it from the outside. i guess what he meant was you have to bring pressure from the outside but, you know, one of the main criticisms of president obama is he is not very good at the inside game and one reason that we are in the gridlock we are in right now is he is just not good at brokering deals. >> totally true. >> i disagree with that, if you look at the tax cut deal after the november 2010 elections that he actually got a lot more than the republicans, you look at how he got start passed and don't
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ask, don't tell, there are a lot of stories in which he has gone and done stuff kind of more on the inside, then on the outside, and it ticked off his base because they haven't seen this because it has been too much inside washington. so it cuts both ways. >> nostalgic for the obama of 2008 when he could run as an outsider, it is always easier to run, even when you are an incumbent outsider and he doesn't have that message anymore so he lapsed back into that so the problem is he hasn't shown us why he, the president needs to be rehired. >> when a president of four years says excuse me you can't change washington from the inside, he is saying i failed to change washington from the inside. he could not negotiate, he was no reagan sitting down with tip o'neill. if you are buying, you make a deal with the other side, you can move it forward. if you can't do that, then i
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guess you have to talk about how you can't change things. >> i want to come back to this. wrong you can read the bob woodward book and include obama is good at the inside game, you can't read that and figure that. but anyway, beyond that, you know, the classic book on the presidency was written by, called presidential power his whole argument was it is a combination you have to be good at the outside game and inside game so two together. and president obama's notion you can do this from the outside simply doesn't work in contemporary politics. >> schieffer: had we ever had a president that was really good at both. >> we had occasional presidents good at both. >> ronald reagan. >> ronald reagan, lbj, to a certain extent. >> the party republicans, you know, you listen so someone like you look at the book tom man wrote and not flaming radicals and they blame the obstructionism almost mainly on
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the republicans coming and saying we don't care if you are clinton or ronald reagan we are just going to throw monkey with reference with reference into the wrenches again and again and see what happens at the next election. >> oh, boo yahoo, but. >> boo hoo, and the remedy may not be power from the outside .. look at healthcare as an issue that moved because of outside pressure he picked up no republicans because of this outside pressure and tried to used organizing for america his campaign arm to bring a national ground swell for healthcare and the numbers went down. so just as a remedy for gridlock his own diagnosis isn't right because it didn't necessarily work in the way he thought. >> to the president doesn't want to be locked with no inside or outside -- >> franklin roosevelt was a master as president and he was terrific on the outside, with the radio talks and the rest but also a master on the inside. >> yes. >> and he has staunch republican opposition. >> you know better than anybody, doesn't it take a while you
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learn where the oval office is and you learn where the bathroom is and then how to negotiate da. >> and as a second term president, he can actually have some leverage in a different way than he had in the first term. >> we have all been reading the robert carolbj book in the past year and you know why we have because we are nostalgic for and longing for a man who knew how to do it from the inside, from the day he went to work. >> you can't do those private negotiations -- >> oh you can do plenty. >> you really can. >>ive president is reelected my fervent hope is he is a successful president because the country so desperately needs to get things done in the second term but the problem in the second term as you know power runs -- >> your power runs down quickly, your leverage actually diss piers you have about a year to a year and a half. >> schieffer: all right our power is slowly running down
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here, the clock has run out. i want to thank all of you, perhaps the most spirited discussion we have had on face the nation in a long time. i wish you could all come back here every sunday. thank you all for being with us. we will be right back. stay with us.
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that's all we time for today, the panel is still talking and talked right through the commercial and still talking over here. we will be back in washington next week, tonight watch 60 minutes, both president obama and mitt romney in separate interviews. thanks for watching. we will be here next week for face the nation. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects. as a result, their students achieve at a higher level. let's develop more stars in education. let's invest in our teachers... ...so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
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Face the Nation
CBS September 24, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PDT

News/Business. (2012) Bill Clinton; David Gergen; David Corn; Peggy Noonan; Rick Stengel; John Dickerson. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY America 9, Bill Clinton 6, Romney 6, Washington 5, Obama 4, Us 4, Clinton 3, Libya 2, Jim Baker 2, Peggy 2, Mitt Romney 2, Mr. Romney 2, Peggy Noonan 2, David Gergen 2, Reagan 1, Ronald Reagan 1, Dave Gergen 1, Bob 1, Franklin Roosevelt 1, Tom Dickerson 1
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